The Order: 1886 Review

The marketing team for Ready at Dawn is The Order: 1886’s greatest enemy. If they positioned the game as a well-polished adventure title, think Telltale without the broken engine, it could’ve received praise for it’s beautiful environments, interactive gunplay and talented voicework. Instead, fans are spewing hatred for this triple-A cover shooter due to a short campaign, long cutscenes, overuse of quick time events and nonexistent replay value.

The Order TeamIn either case, The Order is a flawed game. Inconsistencies in gameplay, narrative and presentation cause this technically impressive title to be a forgettable rental or a race to complete so you can maximize trade-in value.

What You’ll Enjoy

The character models, environment, particle effects, lighting and detail into each set piece are expertly crafted. Gameplay footage is crisper, more detailed and polished than other games cutscenes on the PS4. The transition from player controlled movement to story centric sequences is flawless, making everything look like it was designed in-engine. This streamlined aesthetic keeps your attention as there aren’t obvious leaps in graphical fidelity for the narrative heavy portions.

The voice acting flushes out the world and relationships between characters. During the early portions of the game, as we are introduced to The Order, the player gains a sense of the team dynamics by how they speak to each other. Sir Galahad and Isi’s, will they won’t they, relationship is conveyed in the softness his voice whenever he speaks with (or about) her. Lafayette is a proven warrior, but the player sees how the rest of the team treats him like a novice and doesn’t need a exposition sequence to know he is new to The Order. Revealing relationships through context instead of dialogue isn’t easy, but The Order is able to achieve this task.

What is Just Meh…

The gunplay is good, not great. There are various options to choose from for your heavy and sidearm, but they end up feeling very much the same. You can still snipe enemies with a shotgun from mid-range, the bolt action sniper can be fired from the hip with surprising accuracy and the six different pistols all feel similar. There are a few exceptions, steampunk inspired lightning rifles or a heavy which incinerates the air. But they are rarely available and don’t add much to overall experience.

What Might Frustrate You

With the diverse and talented cast it is a shame that we spend the entire time with Galahad. Despite hints of a deeper character, he spends most of the time grunting and yelling orders (unintentional pun). The interplay between members of The Order stays on the periphery, in The Order Airshipfavor for a larger conspiracy story that build itself into a worldwide threat…but doesn’t actually resolve itself within this entry.

Even though it’s a short game (approximately 8 hours), it still doesn’t respect your time. There are portions where the story plays out repetitive scenes, when the emotion was conveyed during the first execution. I don’t need to see someone interrupt a speech three times to know they’re angry, the first will suffice. Another example of unnecessary padding, is the slowness of which Galahad walks. During the non-combat portions there is no option to run, so you’ll just be strolling along corridors or forced to take the long way around a conference table because NPC’s refuse to move. It allows you an opportunity to see the gorgeous set pieces, but instead of forcing the player to do so it would be better if it was optional.

There are long cinematics which require player input to keep the scene progressing. It’s like the developer realized that the player could set the controller down for five minutes and wanted to solve that issue. Their solution is clumsy, at best. During a struggle, a random button prompt will appear, or motion will slow and the right analog stick needs to be moved to a specific spot. The implementation was so spotty that I would sometimes miss the small window the first time and fail the sequence. Sometimes the failure didn’t matter, and the story continued. Other times it would reload ten seconds earlier and give me another try (maybe there is replayability already baked in).

Final Verdict

The Order GunThe Order is a technically impressive game with a focus on narrative and character development. If that journey culminated in an experience worth following than the average gunplay and distracting QTE could be forgiven. Instead, the story spins its wheels as it attempts to create a world threat as well as a personal tale of betrayal and identity crisis. Neither thread is completed with any sense of closure or satisfaction for the player, but does leave the door wide open for The Order: 1887.

If you want a quick playthrough with a graphically gorgeous game, then I can recommend The Order for a rental or borrow from a friend. If you are looking for engaging gunplay, satisfactory story or the next breakthrough in cinematic games than consider this game out-of-order (wakka wakka).

Hardcore Only

+ Talented Voice Work
+ Stunning Visuals
– Story offers no Conclusion
– Only Hints at Steampunk or Supernatural World
– Repetitive Moments
– Lore Not Explored

Trophy Analysis

22 trophies are yours for the taking in a single playthrough. I would recommend using a spoiler-free guide for the collectibles because the game doesn’t keep track of what you picked up. If you miss one of the newspapers spread out across 16 chapters,and can’t remember which…you’ll need to revisit each location. The game is not worth going through twice. An easy Platinum for anyone willing to put in the time. Sidenote: 22 trophies is a low number for a game with a Platinum and these are uninspired. It truly feels like a last minute tack on, I’ve never seen such an easy collection of golds and silvers available.

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